A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Debate Debate Redux

The federal Conservative Party says it won’t participate in the traditional leaders’ debates run by a consortium of broadcasters.........
They are however pushing for a number of “independently staged debates” where the format can “allow more time for one-on-one debate between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau”. Apparently the NDP and Greens have no place in their plans to control the debates, however the New Democrats said they have also accepted TVA’s and Maclean’s debate invites but there is no mention of the GPC in this article.

Seems rather convenient that just as the 'consortium' decided to include Elizabeth May that the Conservatives ditches the idea of debates sponsored by the major TV networks.

We have received debate proposals from a variety of print and broadcast media, as well as other organizations. We believe the diversity and innovation inherent in different debate sponsors and approaches is valuable,” Conservative campaign spokesman Kory Teneycke said.
Therefore we have decided to decline the proposal from the broadcast consortium for four debates, which for practical purposes would effectively exclude other media and organizations capable of hosting debates of this nature.”
Unsaid here is 'we feel we can better control the debate when negotiating with smaller organizations, allow Mr Harper to use crib notes and limit who participates and how long they get to speak.'

Mr. Teneycke, now a communications official with the Conservative Party, is a former senior executive with the Sun News Network, a now-defunct media outlet that made no secret of its distaste for CBC, the taxpayer-funded broadcaster.

The consortium, including the CBC, has been in charge of federal election debates for decades, but parties have sometimes chafed over the format dictated by the broadcasters.

Whilst I did not agree with the consortium’s exclusion of Ms May during the last election debates I do think that their adherence and insistence on a formal set of rules so ably overseen by moderator Steve Pakin made it fair and equal for all participants. It remains to be seen if these new proposals will meet that standard but I suspect this is purely and effort to gain advantage by controlling the rules and the narrative.
The Green Party of Canada believes that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and all national party leaders have an obligation to debate in a proven format that is easily accessible to all Canadians, including our seniors, our youth, and those living in rural and remote regions of Canada.” They have however have accepted the offer for a federal debate from Maclean’s and are reviewing others.  We believe more debates, in both traditional and new media formats, are better for Canadians.
Indeed many rural and less affluent Canadians do not have the unlimited high speed connections necessary to view on line streaming video (this writer being one of them). I have no problem with such debates being carried on a variety on mediums however I do think an effort to make them available to ALL Canadians must be made and I am not sure that the print media thus far chosen by Harper without any consultation with other partys will achieve this or be moderated in as non partisan a manner as previous debates.
The Conservatives have emphasized that they would like to participate in debates on different media, since Canadians are consuming current affairs on different platforms...............
Adding to number of debates also deadens impact of any one debate/slip up.” (read, “I can change my lies and spin in the next one to suit”)
By choosing to outright decline the national broadcaster’s proposal of four debates in both official languages, Stephen Harper is clearly trying to fragment the audience and create a debate free-for-all that will not benefit voters.  Once Canadians understand the true motivation of the Conservatives, they will be outraged.
It was announced Thursday that the consortium debates (1 in English and 1 in French) will go ahead with or without Stephen Harper’s participation and that NDP, Greens, Liberals and the Bloc will participate!
If indeed there are 5 (or more) additional debates (several well prior to the election period) I doubt that all news networks will broadcast all debates uninterrupted or in full given that it cost them millions in lost advertising revenue. I am not sure that this is not a good thing, my tolerance for BS, lies and spin is becoming very limited as we close in on the time to make some very tough but Nation Changing decisions.

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Owen Gray said...

It's all about control, Rural. Just as he controlled the kinds of citizens who attended his "appearances," he needs to control his appearances.

God forbid that something unscripted might happen.

Rural said...

Let us hope that the unscripted part is his elimination from parliament Owen!